misslynx: (Misc - Small Manageable Goats)
I happened upon the blog at Post-Punk Kitchen last night (that's the web site run by the authors of Vegan with a Vengeance, The Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, etc.), and when I went to add the RSS feed to my LJ friends page, apparently it didn't have a syndicated feed set up here yet, which somewhat astonishes me. So I made one for it - if anyone wants to have awesome vegan recipes regularly showing up on your friends page (whether or not you are actually vegan - most of these recipes look delicious purely on their own merits, and can probably be enjoyed by anyone), add [livejournal.com profile] theppk_blog.

In related news: despite my hair-raising adventures in baking stuff for [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie's Christmas party, I am filled with the desire to bake again. My spiffy new Serious Cupcake Pan demands to be filled again, and I am contemplating trying my hand at Irish soda bread as well (largely because unlike other forms of bread, it sounds relatively easy and nearly idiot-proof). Or cornbread, for which there is a tasty-sounding recipe in the Veganomicon.

I think I most desirous of making something that is not sweet first, because I have eaten a lot of sugar over the past few days. It is dangerous to send leftover cookies and cupcakes home with me, especially when the cupcakes are too sticky to hand out to random people as I did with a few of the cookies. Thus the idea of making bread or biscuits or something. But the directions for making yeast breads are terrifyingly incomprehensible to me, and sourdough bread (which I actually like better than yeast bread as a general rule) requires complicated microbiological voodoo. But soda bread pretty much just requires grade-school chemistry (put an acid and a base together, and presto foamy), which I'm pretty sure I can handle. And cornbread doesn't even require that.

Stay tuned for the further baking adventures of our intrepid heroine...
misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
Slept too late, and the pears were not ripe yet despite being stuck in a bag with apples for a day and a half, so I didn't get to make the sweet potato/pear thing I was going to - just set off with the cupcakes, cookies, tofu roast (á la Tofurkey, but by a small local company instead) and blackberry porter. Which as it turned out was plenty, because there was a ton and a half of food. [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie is an excellent cook and tend to go all out when hosting any kind of social event. Also, multiple varieties of wine and beer, and at least three kinds of the beer had chocolate in them. And five kinds were varieties of stout. Clearly a woman after my own heart.

So, spent the day with her and [livejournal.com profile] mr_pugh, [livejournal.com profile] cleasai and [livejournal.com profile] insolent_cherub, plus a brief appearance by The Moogie's brother. There was much eating, drinking, silliness, and general merriment. I really need more of that. I did miss being with my actual bio-family, but being with chosen family can be pretty awesome too.

The results of my adventures in baking seem to have been well-received, though I ended up with a lot left, but that may have been just because there was so much there. I did give everyone some cookies to take home (and later gave three more to a homeless woman who was camped out in the entryway of [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik's building when I went there to water their plants), so I only have a few of those left, but I still have eight cupcakes left! Anyone want one?

BTW, the cupcakes came out pretty well in spite of everything, though they are possibly the stickiest, messiest cupcakes ever due to the ooey-gooey caramelly Dulce Sin Leche topping. Also, some of them ended up with bonus caramel inside, due to the not-so-successful attempt at swirling it into the top of the batter before baking. But hey, any screw-up that results in cupcakes having a molten caramel centre is a feature, not a bug, as far as I'm concerned.

And I am pleased to note that thanks to a collective gift, Cleasai now has the Spirit of the Century book, and will be running a game of that sometime in the future, possibly starting in March. My attempts at trying to kickstart character creation right then and there, since it seemed like it would be exceptionally fun to do with a bunch of drunk people, were unsuccessful, despite SOTC having the most fun-sounding character creation process I've ever seen...

Anyway: I am now very tired and it is definitely time to sleep. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
misslynx: (Quote - clucking bell)
  1. I am not, in fact, a Person Who Bakes. I am, at best, a Person Who Is Attempting To Figure This Whole Baking Thing Out, With Varying Degrees Of Success.

  2. Things they tell you to do in recipes sound so much easier than they actually are.

  3. Drizzling melted chocolate on top of something, for example, would be easier if melting the chocolate had actually made it vaguely liquidy, instead of a thick gloppy pudding-like substance.

  4. Possibly I used the wrong kind of chocolate.

  5. Adding soymilk will not help. It will, in fact, make it thicker. Ditto for stirring it lots and lots. Eventually it will come to resemble something you expect to see sliding along the floors of a dungeon sucking up small objects.

  6. Putting it into a Ziplock bag and cutting off a corner to simulate a pastry bag might have worked better if the chocolate had been cooler. Who knew the seams on the bag were that weak?

  7. Hopefully my oven mitts are washable...

  8. Eventually attempting to "drizzle" it onto your shortbread anyway will result in giant swaths of chocolate that look kind of like some animal had major bowel control problems in the general vicinity of your cookies.

  9. Trying to spread it around with a spoon will make it look like a preschooler's art project, but at least less like poo.

  10. It will taste good anyway.

  11. Even if you whisk your Dulce Sin Leche nonstop for the entire time from first combining the ingredients to taking it off the heat to cool, it will end up with strange white lumps in it of unidentifiable origin (soymilk powder?). But you can get most of them out by eventually forcing it through a strainer. Most of them.

  12. You can, indeed, soften brown sugar by putting it in the microwave with a damp paper towel over it. However, it is advisable to keep an eye on the time and/or whether the paper towel is still damp. Unless, of course, your intention was to set it on fire...

  13. This will result in parts of the sugar turning into chunks of caramel, which while useless for your cupcakes, are tasty to munch on while you clean up the mess.

  14. You cannot sift rock-hard lumps of caramel out of brown sugar. You can, however, render your brand-new sifter unusable.

  15. Do not keep your cooling Dulce Sin Leche near the bowl you are sifting flour into, unless, of course, you want it covered with flour.

  16. It is probably a good idea to remember whether or not you've already added the vanilla. Adding more "just in case" may or may not have been a good idea.

  17. Your cat will always attempt to jump up on the kitchen counter right at the worst possible time.

  18. When the cookbook says "Spoon a little Dulce Sin Leche onto the top of each cupcake and use a butter knife to swirl the sauce," hopefully they mean "Scrape a thick glob of the Dulce Sin Leche off the spoon onto each cupcake, and try futilely to turn it into a swirl until you realize you're just sliding the glob around without actually changing its shape any." Because that was how it went for me, anyway.

  19. True fact: baking just two things can dirty virtually every bowl, pan, measuring cup, etc. that you own.

  20. If I ever again declare an intent to bake multiple things for a Christmas gathering, or any other event, someone direct my attention to this post, OK?

On the bright side, they rose OK, they smell good, and I remembered to use those little paper liners this time. Little by little, I improve.
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Be the chang)
...And I have chocolate-orange shortbread baking in the oven - well, orange shortbread, anyway. The chocolate gets added after they come out. And a really, really random mix of Christmas music on, which includes everything from the Mediaeval Baebes and Loreena McKennit to various noisy punk and/or industrial manglings of Christmas carols, and everything in between.

I actually completed most of my shopping yesterday, and the few bits I still had to do today didn't involve going anywhere horribly crowded, for which I am eternally grateful. I do not do crowds well, and the amount of running around I had to do yesterday and the day before was fairly stressful.

The un-fun part of things peaked after my last stop yesterday, when, coming out of the health food store, I hoisted my two gigantic Shopping Bags of Holding, and proceeded to twist my ankle, so that all of a sudden it would barely even bear my own weight, let alone that of all the stuff I was trying to carry (partial list: two 2-litre bags of soymilk, a big bag of cat food, a crate of clementines, a kitchen sale, and about 20 other things). So I flagged down a cab, and thankfully got an awesome cabbie, who when he realized I was hurt, not only got out and carried my bags into the cab for me, but brought them all the way up to my apartment when we got there. And tried to refuse my efforts to give him a larger tip because of it.

Probably the part of yesterday that was simultaneously the most stressful and the most awesome was going to the LCBO store in the Manulife Centre. Stressful because: holy crowds, Batman. I had to resort to my crowd-coping techniques of (a) every now and then, closing my eyes and taking a couple of deep breaths, and (b) when that didn't work, digging my nails into my palm periodically to ground myself in my body and vent some anxiety. Not hard enough to break skin, don't worry - I suppose it's still a minor form of self-injury, but sometimes it's the only thing that works. But as I said, it was also awesome, because they had a crazy variety of really interesting-sounding beer. The main thing I'd actually gone there for was to get a little bottle of some kind of sherry or sweet wine, for the sweet potato recipe, but I'd figured I might as well check the beer situation while I was there and maybe get some interesting drinkables. And it was soooo hard to choose - I ended up with the crème brulée imperial stout that [livejournal.com profile] curgoth posted about a while back, a blackberry porter, a smaller bottle of a Scottish stout, and something that shall remain nameless since it's going to be a gift for someone.

Also got the above-mentioned kitchen scale, two cooling racks, and some better measuring cups to replace the mostly broken ones I had, and yesterday also a better muffin pan and a sifter. I am starting to feel like I may actually be approaching the status of being a Person Who Bakes, as opposed to a Person Who Has No Clue About Baking (But Every Now And Then Attempts It Anyway For Some Bizarre Reason).

Today, I was not enamoured of the idea of going out at all, even though my ankle seemed fine, but I did have a few last things to pick up (notably, more sweet potatoes, since the recipe I want to make for the potluck Christmas I'm going to tomorrow calls for two pounds, and my newly acquired kitchen scale revealed that I only had one). But fortunately they could all be acquired in my own neighbourhood.

The best part of today happened pretty much spontaneously: Random acts of kindness )

And with that, the second batch of shortbread has just come out of the oven and the Scottish stout is empty, and I need to haul two large bags of laundry to the laundromat before starting in on the vegan "Dulce Sin Leche" cupcakes (i.e. like Dulce de Leche but without milk).

Hope everyone out there who celebrates Christmas has a good one, and everyone who doesn't had a good whatever-else-you-do-celebrate (all the other major December-ish holidays are past now, correct?).
misslynx: (Default)
I suppose that, when it's an exercise in skill and logistics to somehow make room in the fridge for the remaining 7 peaches (out of a basket of 11 purchased yesterday) that have just reached optimum freshness, by squeezing them in among the beets, dinosaur kale, 2 kinds of cherry tomatoes, corn, cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, ground cherries, 2 kinds of lettuce, patty-pan squashes, 3 kinds of peppers, half a cauliflower left from last week, a few random sweet potatoes and a bag of carrots, it is just conceivably possible that I may have overdone it at the farmer's market yesterday.

And that's not even mentioning the Ginger Gold apples that have been keeping the peaches company in the fruit bowl until now, or the oyster mushrooms and two big freakazoid heritage tomatoes I already ate (along with, yes, four peaches in a day and a half), or...

Somehow, it didn't seem like that much until I tried to fit it all in the fridge.
misslynx: (Default)
  1. There is no such thing as moderation at the farmers' market in midsummer. You cannot go there and get "just a few things", no matter how many vegetables you already have in your fridge. There are too many delicious-looking things available, and they all look awesome.

  2. Bringing just one shopping bag in an effort to enforce moderation did not work. First of all, a lot of the greens are so big and bushy at this time of year that you can fill one shopping bag at the very first stall that you usually go to, given that it's three bunches (of lettuce, kale, chard, callaloo and pretty much anything else green) for $5.00. Second, you are good at finding way to fit many other things in around the side of the bag. So all you end up with is an awkwardly overstuffed bag, and still buying too much stuff.

  3. Next time, try leaving your wallet at home and just bringing a small amount of cash in your pocket. That might have some chance of working.

  4. Telling yourself that the berries did not count against your budget because they're for the Lynxcub's birthday was almost convincing. "Almost", because he is unlikely to eat two entire baskets of berries all by himself (although he will probably give it a good try, because he's a berry fiend).

  5. Just because a vendor is offering two (or three, etc.) of something for a slight discount, it does not mean that you have to buy two (or three, etc.). Yes, this even goes for greens, and berries.

  6. Telling yourself that you are celebrating the fact that you paid the phone bill yesterday is all very well, but not an excuse for overspending today. There are, in fact, other bills. Paying one is not some kind of grand lifetime accomplishment.

  7. On the scale of things you could overspend on, though, healthy, locally grown food is probably not one of the worst sins available. And the fact that you are clearly going to be eating well this week, regardless of other stresses, is probably a good thing.

    This does not, however, negate any of lessons #1-6.
Conversely, small wins:
  1. Forgoing your usual market-day empanada breakfast in favour of eating at home.

  2. Resisting the urge to buy more beets, regardless of how good they looked, because you have not yet eaten the ones you bought last week.

  3. Not buying any baked goods, no matter how tempting they looked.

  4. Barely managing, through an extreme exercise of willpower, not to buy a large basket of peaches in addition to the two baskets of berries you did buy. Particularly because all the way home you kept thinking "Must go back and buy peaches! NO, must not! Yes, must! NO, must not!"

All right, maybe I really should have bought the peaches. They had damn well better still have some next Saturday, is all I can say.
misslynx: (Default)
Dear self:

When at the farmers' market, and still during the 60% or so of the year when apples are the only damn fruit available there, never, repeat never, buy only the small green plastic basket of them. Always get the big cardboard basket.

Yes, even if there are only two varieties left, and one of them is just for baking and the other is that creepy new "Red Prince" variety. Whatever kind of apples they may be, they are the only ones left, and when faced with a choice between a weird and overhyped variety of apples and no apples at all -- or tasteless supermarket fruit that's been picked totally unripe and shipped in from gods-know-where, losing all flavour and texture in the process -- your obvious and logical choice should be bring on the damn apples. Specifically, the big basket.

Because between you and your offspring, you have now blown through fully half the stupid little green basket, and it's only Sunday, with the market having been on Saturday. Seriously, that thing holds what, six apples? You eat at least one a day. Sometimes more. And the boy eats an apple more visits than not. Do the math. Also, for future reference, apparently Red Prince isn't too bad after all...

*sigh* How long is it until strawberry season starts?
misslynx: (Default)
Made it out to the farmers' market this morning, and was very happy to find that (a) it's now moved outside for the season (less crowded, and I can take Kiska along with me as I shop instead of having to tie her outside the doors), and (b) there's starting to be a little more in the way of actual fresh produce from this season, as opposed to the endless parade of root veggies and apples left over from last fall. I got fiddleheads (yay!), wild leeks, and mustard greens, as well as a few other less-seasonal things.

It's still early in the season, so there's not too much new stuff available yet, but at least it's starting. I even saw some asparagus at one booth, but only a few bunches were left when I spotted them, and by the time I got over there, they were gone. I really need to start getting there earlier. I also missed the mushrooms completely today - he was sold out of every variety by the time I got to his booth. I miss the days when they used to have it in the afternoon rather than the morning, but apparently this way works better for the farmers.

BTW, I got confirmation from the wild-foods people that all the stern advisories about having to boil fiddleheads into mush in order for them to be safe to eat are a little overblown. I know I've eaten them lightly cooked many times and never had any problems, but everywhere you look now, people are telling you to boil them for at least 10 minutes, despite the fact that that would pretty much eradicate all flavour and nutritional value. Seriously, who does that to any fresh green vegetable?

Apparently, what the situation is is that they have some kind of tannins on the outside that some people are sensitive to, and can get a hellish case of indigestion from if they aren't removed, but not everyone reacts to them. I guess I don't... The vendor said that safety-wise, you do need to clean them well, preferably in a couple of changes of water, but the boiling-for-10-minutes thing isn't really necessary, unless you're very sensitive to them. You can also put them in water, heat it just to boiling, drain it, then do it again with a fresh lot of water, and that usually works as well for people who do have problems with them. But he said anyone's who's always been able to eat them with no trouble after cleaning them well and then lightly cooking them is probably OK to just keep doing that. So that was good to find out.

And speaking of all this lovely fresh food, time to make lunch. Hmmm, fiddleheads, or sauteed mustard greens tossed with pasta? Decisions, decisions!
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
Mostly on less portentous matters than Liberation Day, bike accidents, etc.:
  1. Today's parenting discovery: a child who is totally uninterested in eating spaghetti with roasted beets when presented with it in a bowl the normal way may yet be enticed to eat a whole lot of it if you:

    1. allow him to loll on his back with his mouth open like a baby bird while you drop bits of food in, and

    2. tell him that the spaghetti strands are worms and the beets are red ants.

    Elsewhere in today's visit, he had me tuck Spiral Bear inside the front of his hoodie and zip him in, and then proudly informed me that he was pregnant. I wasn't quite sure what to say to that, so I just responded with "Well, er - congratulations, I guess!"

  2. Another Lynxcub cuteness/weirdness highlight: he has advanced to peeing standing up, but is not quite tall enough to actually pee in the toilet that way without standing on something. So in the absence of a suitable stepstool, I have been letting him stand on the (covered) litter box which is next to the toilet. I commented last visit that that meant he was peeing half like a cat and half like a human, and he delightedly exclaimed "I PEE LIKE HALF A CAT!!!" I am not sure he quite understood why this made me practically collapse in hysterical laughter...

  3. One detail I forgot to mention from [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech's visit - I finally got to try La Terrible with her at Volo. I'd been wanting to try that one for a while and was definitely not disappointed - it was amazing! Kind of in the same ballpark as Trois Pistoles (as in: pitch black, slightly sweet, awesomely rich flavour and alarmingly high ABV), but with its own distinct character as well. Definitely an automatic entry into my top ten beer list, and further proof that Unibroue can pretty much do no wrong.

  4. Lastly, whoever decided to put Stephen Moffatt in charge of the new season of Doctor Who deserves a medal of some kind, or at least my undying gratitude. The first few episodes were just kind of not bad, but OMG, he really pulled out all the stops for the Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone set. Absolutely awesome, as long as you don't mind never sleeping again. Though I suppose you can say that about most of the episodes he was a guest writer on before they put him in charge, but it's nice to see he hasn't lost his touch. And I am really, really looking forward to the rest of this season.

  5. And now, speaking of sleeping...
misslynx: (Misc - Oh R'lyeh?)
In which everything is better under the sea )

So, this has totally reinforced my desire to get him a copy of Where the Deep Ones Are, which is kind of a mash-up of Where the Wild Things Are and The Shadow Over Innsmouth (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] gesigewigus for the recommendation).

Also, must read up on raw fish safety. My recollection is that if you buy it really fresh, and then freeze it for at least 24 hours before thawing and eating it*, it's supposed to be OK, but I'd want to be really, really sure.

Well, if nothing else, this whole trend has been proof that non-biological parents can and do, somehow, impart traits to their offspring without benefit of genetics. Because he certainly did not pick up the love of raw fish from either of his other two parents... :-)


* ETA: just read a few articles, and it actually has to be frozen for 72 hours, not 24, and specifically at 4°F or lower, which most home freezers aren't capable of. So you pretty much have to get fish that's specifically "sushi-grade", meaning it's been frozen cold enough for long enough to be safe to eat raw. However, tuna appears to be something of an exception, because they live far enough out in the ocean that most of the parasites that can affect fish closer to shore don't ever reach them, so they are far less likely to have any nasties in them. So, if I do ever decide to experiment with raw fish at home, tuna seems like the best choice.
misslynx: (Default)
  1. To the cyclist riding directly ahead of me on Bay street:

    You are the reason everyone hates us )

  2. To the little old lady cyclist who turned onto Bay in front of me right after death-wish cyclist #1 turned off:

    I think YOUR life just flashed before my eyes )

  3. To more car drivers than I can count offhand:

    Stop it. STOP IT NOW. )

But hey, apart from all that, it was a lovely day for cycling. Rode downtown and back twice, the second time to go to Neutral and dance for about three hours. Did not make it to the gym, but I'm pretty sure I got my exercise anyway.

Today was more an upper-body and core muscles sort of day, in that it involved carrying little A halfway to Hillcrest Park (about 9-10 blocks from AA&N's place) and all the way back, because he was tired from walking a lot earlier in the day, and did not feel inclined toward any unnecessary walking.

A good time was had by all apart from that, though, and the boy got to try Vietnamese noodles for the first time, which he seemed to very much like (not pho, I figured that would have been a recipe for epic mess). He also determinedly tried to use the adult-sized, non-hinged chopsticks, being perhaps a touch overconfident from his mastery of the hinged kind Japanese restaurants give to kids. That did not work so well, and he ended up deciding to use two ceramic pho spoons at once instead, which worked -- well, not exactly perfectly, but better than you might think.

Also, his new favourite sport is pine cone tennis.
misslynx: (Default)
...And neither do I, really. But this video is possibly the most entertainingly random thing I have ever found on the Toronto Star web site:

misslynx: (Aidan & me - ravine)
While not entirely without its stresses, this week has mostly been made of awesome, so far. Here are some of the specifics:
  1. Finally got to the Kensington Market Festival of Lights this year, and it was amazing. A really eclectic variety of people from families with kids to punks with pitbulls, and all sorts of creative and entertaining things including mummers, giant animal puppets, Native singers, kids putting on mini-plays, fire-spinning circus folks, a masked raccoon gang, random public art... And I'm still probably missing half of what was there. There were a couple of points where I found myself getting tears in my eyes just because it was so amazing having all these different kinds of people together doing wildly creative things. And it really made me realize just how much, and why, I love this city.

  2. Cookies! )

  3. Aidan! )

  4. Really Good Beer! )

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, happy extended solstice or other holiday of your choice to those who don't. Have some cookies.
misslynx: (Seal kiss)
The Secret Life of Everyday Things

There are many more addictive photo series on that site... Must. Tear. Self. Away...
misslynx: (Default)
So I have now twice biked to a client's place near Pape & Gerrard, which is the longest distance I've done in a single stretch, apart from (I think) that one time I biked from [livejournal.com profile] foxesdaughter's place to Union Station along the waterfront trail late at night. And I've actually found it a pretty decent and enjoyable trek both times.

Although perhaps doing it today, after having had no sleep whatsoever the previous night, was unwise. Stayed up all night working on stuff, most notably finishing scanning a huge stack of portfolio samples for said client's web site (she's a copywriter), that I had to return to her today. Did briefly consider before departing that maybe major sleep deprivation and long bike rides on busy streets do not mix well. Discarded that notion as for the weak. :-) Still, no mishaps. There is nothing like the adrenaline of riding in traffic to make one feel much more awake than one otherwise might.

But contemplating the distance after the fact, it occurred to me to compare via Mapquest how far it was from my place to said client's place, and how far it would be to ride from my place all the way to Foxesdaughter's, as opposed to riding down to Christie station, taking the subway across to the east end, and then riding down from Main station.

Result: distance to client's place, 9.98 km
Distance to chez Foxes, 14.22 to 16.88 km, depending on route taken

That's not that much further... (she says thoughtfully, eying her bike)

Why yes, yes I am completely insane. Thank you for asking.

However, I think I am going to attempt to go to bed at a semi-reasonable hour tonight for a change. Despite having a big project due tomorrow. There is a level of tiredness beyond which you are good for nothing but playing Nethack and correcting people's English submissions on Livemocha, both of which are good low-stress brain candy, but neither of which pay the bills.

. . .

And in a random, semi-related note, I am so, so very happy that the Akiwenzies have returned to the farmers market near me. They are a small family-run fishing business from a Chippewa reserve on Georgian Bay, and they sell both fresh-caught and traditionally smoked fish from there, which is about as local fish as you will ever find in Toronto (I'm not sure I'd want to eat fish caught directly in the Toronto harbour, after all, what with the pollution levels there). They had been away all summer due to building a new smokehouse & fish-processing centre on their land, and last Saturday was their first day back.

I bought a big whitefish fillet from them on Saturday, and had then managed to almost forget it was there, until earlier this evening when I was really feeling the lack of sleep, with a combination of spaciness and unsettled tummy that made me feel like I really needed to eat something super-nutritious, but wasn't sure what, due to lack of being able to think. Then I remembered it, and it was like my whole brain just jumped tracks to "OMG fish fish fish fish FISH NOW FISH PLZ FISH FISH FISH!!!"I had originally thought that piece would do for three meals, but I baked the whole thing and ate a little over half of it in a single sitting, with some bulgur wheat and sauteed spinach (because dark leafy greens are the other thing I crave when tired or stressed).

So, so very good. And not just taste-wise, but in the way that feels like every cell in my body is turning little cartwheels of happiness from being inundated with a tidal wave of nutrients. I can seriously get very euphoric from eating things like that, especially when I was feeling tired or out of sorts before it.

And this is why despite being somewhat vegan-leaning in other respects, I have no desire to give up fish. My body just likes it entirely too much, and nothing else is quite the same. I don't know if it's the omega 3's, or B-12, or whether, as someone in [livejournal.com profile] necronomiphiles once claimed, I am secretly a Deep One. :-) I do dislike the excesses of commercial fisheries, though, and even when buying stuff that makes the sustainable seafood list, there's the whole carbon footprint thing to think about with having it flown in from somewhere near an actual ocean. So being able to actually buy lake fish caught somewhere nearby is incredibly happy-making.

. . .

Oh, and speaking of Deep Ones and related topics, [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen sent me the following link today: Miskatonic Valley Fine Art. All Lovecraft geeks must immediately check it out. Only two statues thus far, but they're really cool. I especially like the one of Shub-Niggurath.

. . .

I think I would like to go to bed NOW, actually. Though realistically I should at least answer a couple more e-mails...
misslynx: (Seal kiss)
As a general rule these days, the only kind of animal I eat is fish (and occasionally other undersea creatures). Might have a taste of something else once in a while (because as another general rule, I'm not overly strict about general rules), but seafood is the only sort of animal product I eat with any regularity. And I have always found that I feel better when I eat it on at least an occasional basis. I have been strictly vegetarian at other times, but that never really felt quite right to me - I'd crave fish frequently, and while my diet has ranged up and down the herbivore-to-omnivore scale at various points in my life, on the whole I've spent more time being vegetarian-plus-fish than being properly vegetarian.

I've also always been of the opinion that whatever a person's food choices, they should be able to take responsibility for them, and be fully comfortable with the processes involved in whatever they eat becoming food. If someone eats plants, they should be OK with the process of planting a garden and harvesting veggies. If someone eats animals, they should be OK with the process of killing and preparing said animals to eat. The former is no big deal to most people. The latter is a little trickier. The cliche that "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian" may be an exaggeration but it's not without a grain of truth. I don't mean that people should always have to grow/raise/harvest/kill/whatever everything they eat - that's hardly practical in an urban context. But they should at least not be completely grossed out by the process, and ideally be able to handle doing it themselves if they had to.

Now, the only animals I have ever killed and eaten, personally, are clams and crabs. I have attempted fishing once or twice, but never actually managed to catch anything. The fish that I cook, by and large, comes in nice little fillets, ready to cook. So there is a bit of a disconnect there between my theory and my practice.

I have also noticed that whole fish are frequently much cheaper than said fillets, and been tempted to buy them, but always held off partly because I wasn't sure how to cook them, and partly because, if truth be told, the idea squicked me a wee bit, in flagrant violation of the above principle. But I'm not really good at maintaining that sort of contradiction between what I think people should be able to do and what I can actually do. So, a while back, I bought a whole frozen fish. And proceeded to leave it in the freezer for quite a while, avoiding the inevitable. But one can only avoid such things for so long...

Lynx vs. fish, cut to spare the squeamish )
misslynx: (Default)
Came across this via another web site today:

Woman's Shattered Life Shows Ground Beef Inspection Flaws

Those of you who eat meat, particularly in ground form, might want to think about having it ground for you instead of buying it in pre-processed form... No, that's probably not 100% safe either (nothing is these days, veggies included), but it does sound like ground meat has a much higher risk of being contaminated with something horrible than most things do.

When are we going to learn that trusting mega-corporations to police themselves for things like health and safety is just asking for trouble?
misslynx: (Me w/ Kiska (on couch))
  1. When buying new and interesting hot peppers from the farmers' market, it is generally a good idea to start by putting one (1) of them into a dish, until you know for certain just how hot they are.

  2. Scotch bonnet peppers, like poisonous snakes, are better identified before close contact than afterwards.

  3. Check local regulations to see if there is any provision for aloo gobi being considered a prohibited weapon of mass destruction.

(x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] failed_recipe)

But seriously, is there anyone (local) who has a higher heat tolerance than I do* who would like the rest of the fairly large batch of aloo gobi that I just made? To the extent that my scarred taste buds can determine, it was pretty good except for that whole burning-like-napalm thing.


* I should perhaps mention that I have a higher heat tolerance than the average North American, so by higher than mine, I mean pretty damn high.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
Is there some secret to getting peaches ripe enough to eat without having one or more of them spontaneously go moldy?

I just had to throw three peaches, from a basket of eight, into the compost, while most of the rest were still unripe, and I only bought them the day before yesterday! Every time I buy them this seems to happen - I have to leave them out for a day or two or three to get ripe, but I guess the moment when any given peach hits perfect ripeness but has not yet gone off is really short, and happens at different rates for all of them. I check them every day, often twice a day, but it seems like they can go from unripe to overripe-and-getting-moldy really fast. This seems to happen regardless of whether they are in the fruit bowl or in the basket they came in.

Maybe it's like that "magic hour" I learned about in a film production class - a narrow window of time right at dusk or dawn when it's light enough to shoot, but will look like nighttime in your film. I am starting to think that peaches have a magic hour in which they're actually edible, and if you don't catch them right then and stick them directly into the fridge, goodbye peaches.

. . .

One of my Livemocha friends cracked me up this morning. I had submitted a writing exercise last night that involved describing people and objects and their locations (i.e. "The woman is on the sofa. She is not in the chair. The food is on the table. It is not in the box." etc. - the sort of thing that is the bane of all language students and makes you envision having to travel to France Latin America with a cat, a monkey, a table, etc.).

Anyway, it was one where you could supply your own examples, and trying to make things a little more interesting with the limited vocabulary I have thus far, I included "Estás sobre el edificio" ("you are on the building", as in on top of the building).

And my Argentinean friend wrote in her comment: "¿SOBRE EL EDIFICIO? Es BATMAN?"

I don't think you need to know much Spanish to get that... :-)
misslynx: (Default)
Still need to do a Real Update[TM] covering assorted events of the past month like Maíre & Deb's wedding and [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech's visit, but this is not it. For the time being, I just need to announce a few small things:
  1. This recipe is awesomely delicious. But should not be made if you are in a hurry, as it takes time. It's easy, but it takes time. Especially if you use the beet greens (which I very much recommend), as they tend to need a lot of washing. But OMG is it worth it. It's impressive-looking, as well as tasty - the pasta turns neon fuschia and looks amazing mixed in with bright green beet tops and dark red beets. I think I used a higher veggies-to-pasta ratio than the recipe calls for, and a little more garlic (two large cloves to one bunch of beets and a small amount of whole wheat pasta), and added a squirt of lemon juice to tone down the sweetness. But so, so very good. Will definitely make again.

  2. My Deliria game seems to be getting off to a good start despite having thus far never had the same group of players show up twice. Best quote of the evening: "You guys are pretty nice for a bunch of Satan-worshippers." [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie is an excellent hostess, as always. Yummy mushroom thingies and pistachio nuts and Young's Double Chocolate Stout. Yes, she got an extra experience point.

  3. Last but definitely not least, on the way back, I did something that I not only have never done before, but that until recently I had considered impossible, or at least highly improbably that I would do any time in the foreseeable future.

    I suppose the story really begins the previous night, where I briefly attempted what I ended up doing tonight, because suddenly it just didn't look quite so impossible as it always had before, but didn't quite feel up to it then. Or maybe it begins last week with [livejournal.com profile] optimystik giving my bike a mini-tune-up which included raising the seat a bit higher, which I've found has made a huge difference in how easy it is to ride, particularly up hills. Small hills that used to be daunting to me I can now ride up relatively easily. But still, I hadn't quite expected to be able to do this.

    Tonight, when riding along Davenport, I got to Christie, where I usually get off my bike and walk it up the killer hill of doom. And I did not get off my bike. I did not walk my bike. I just turned right and rode straight up the hill.

    Let me repeat that: I RODE UP THE DAVENPORT HILL. On my bike. Me. 46 Years old. Arthritis in knees and ankles. Massively out of shape until relatively recently. I. RODE. UP. THE. DAVENPORT. HILL.

    It was not easy. I downshifted all the way to 1 (well, 1 on the middle gear - my bike has 18 speeds but in practice I only ever use the middle 6 because the left shifter scares me), at times was going so slowly I almost thought my bike would topple over, and at several points seriously considered giving up. But I did not give up. I didn't even stop for a breather after I got to the top, though I desperately wanted to. Ironically, the very slight incline of the first couple of blocks after the crest of the hill was almost harder than the hill itself, because my leg muscles were so fried by that point. But I kept going, even though I had to stay in really low gear at first. By St. Clair I was back up to 4, and by the time I got home a minute or two later, my legs didn't hurt any more, though I was still a bit out of breath and soaked with sweat. I don't know what kind of shape I'm going to be in tomorrow...

    But I did it.

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